Somewhat lost in the narrative of the 2013 season for Texas Longhorns wide receiver Jaxon Shipley was the fact that he underwent surgery for a torn groin muscle just before fall camp, an injury that caused him to miss a substantial amount of practice time.
Shipley still turned in the type of season that's become expected of him in his three years on campus now -- close to 600 yards receiving on 56 catches with a touchdown. However, those numbers were the lowest of his career in catches, yards per catch, and touchdowns, all despite the fact he was catching passes from his childhood friend Case McCoy for most of the season.
And the change in offense wasn't the only reason for that, as McCoy attempted more passes in 2013 than David Ash had in 2013.
Most likely, it was the fact that he wasn't fully recovered from his groin injury, at least according to his older brother, Jordan, who mentioned the injury in an interview with ESPN:
A lot of people don't know this, but he had a pretty significant surgery right before last season started and missed all of two-a-days. They went in and cut the attachments for his groin muscle on both sides and reattached them. They were torn and frayed everywhere. I don't know how he was even back to being able to play. That was four weeks before two-a-days.
Obviously, the team doesn't release medical information in that great of a detail, so the true extent of Shipley's injury was probably never revealed until this interview -- based on what happened, perhaps it's remarkable that the younger Shipley was able to accomplish as much as he did last fall.
With six catches in the spring game for 95 yards, Shipley was not only the leading receiver, but looked like the best receiver on the team by a wide margin, especially when including the would-be touchdowns on a skinny post route and on a slant-and-go that were missed by quarterback Tyrone Swoopes.
The performance wasn't lost on the elder Shipley brother:
He just didn't feel great last year, and I was impressed he played the way he did for going through that. I think watching him in the spring game, he looks like he's way ahead. I think he's going to have a great year.
Going against the second-team Texas defense, Shipley could have gained over 150 yards with three touchdowns.
In the quick passing game that new play caller/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson likes to run, Shipley should have plenty of opportunities to take short catches and turn them into long gains. If Watson chooses to use him at the X receiver spot, he could have some one-on-one match ups without a lot of safety help with some of the concepts that the former Louisville offensive coordinator likes to run. With Shipley's route-running ability, that could result in some big ways if Watson decides to use him aggressively, something that he didn't always do at Louisville, preferring instead a ball-control offense.
Now fully healthy unless there are any setbacks between now and the start of the season, Shipley's quickness and the loss of Mike Davis should help provide all the reason necessary to showcase the senior's skills.
Put it all together and it could be an all-conference type of season for the last Shipley to come through Texas until the next generation.